U.S. Junior Select Team Downs Sweden 3-1

Fargo Force's Matt Leitner, Colten St. Clair and Eamonn McDermott each assisted in the 3-1 win over Sweden today.

From USA Hockey:

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - Shane Berschbach (Clawson, Mich./Indiana Ice) tallied his tournament-leading fourth goal and Eric Mihalik (Avon Lake, Ohio/Des Moines Buccaneers) turned aside 34 shots as the U.S. Junior Select Team downed Sweden, 3-1, here today in the quarterfinal round of the World Junior A Challenge at Credit Union Place. With the win, Team USA advances to the semifinals against Russia Friday (Nov. 6) at 1 p.m. EST.

"We've been improving all aspects of our game and it showed here today," said Mark Carlson, head coach of the 2009 U.S. Junior Select Team. "We're getting better each time on the ice and it's an exciting time for our team right now as we head toward the semifinals."

After a scoreless first period where Mihalik and Sweden's Jonas Gunnarsson stopped six and 17 shots, respectively, Nick Jensen (Rogers, Minn./Green Bay Gamblers) gave Team USA a 1-0 lead at 4:06 of the middle frame. Colten St. Clair's (Gilbert, Ariz./Fargo Force) faceoff win to the right of Gunnarsson found Mac Bennett (Warrick, R.I./Cedar Rapids RoughRiders) at the blue line, who slid a pass to Jensen. The defenseman skated in from the point and fired a shot that beat Gunnarsson low to the far side.

The U.S. scored two more goals in the middle frame, with David Gerths (Ankeny, Iowa/Lincoln Stars) giving the U.S. a 2-0 advantage at 8:20. After Berschbach took the puck away from a Swedish defenseman in the corner, he sent a pass to Kevin Gravel (Kingsford, Mich./Sioux City Musketeers) at the right point, who found his defensive partner Kevin Albers (Lake Orion, Mich./Green Bay Gamblers). Albers fired a shot that was directed by Gerths into the back of the net.

While on the power play, Eamonn McDermott (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Fargo Force) sent a pass along the boards to a waiting Matt Leitner (Los Alamitos, Calif./Fargo Force) at the hash marks, who sent a pass to Berschbach near the goal line. Berschbach made a fake that froze Gunnarsson before banking the puck off his arm to extend the U.S. lead to 3-0 at 15:35.

Sweden ended Team USA's shutout bid with a goal from Adam Almquist at 4:29 of the third period to account for the U.S. 3-1 final.


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